Droid® 3 (manufacturer's name:
Solana) is a cellphone or smartphone manufactured by Motorola exclusively for
Verizon. It is available from Verizon with a subsidy to contracted clients, or
without the subsidy but SIM-locked. It can also be obtained unlocked from
specialized resellers, and codes can be obtained from unlocking services
(they do not
unlock your contract, though).
I want my Droid 3 to combine in one device the voice chat (cellphone) role and a variety of activities for a handheld computer. For the most part it has done everything I asked for.
2.5 years ago I obtained a G1 by HTC (manufacturer's name: Dream). It has
served me well, but software has boiled over both in size and in CPU cycles
required, and the G1 is no longer able to keep up; Android-2.3
Gingerbread won't even fit. The Android operating system started out as
a hack for a niche market, but network operators, manufacturers and purchasers
have embraced its obvious advantages, and it has gone viral, running on over a
hundred models and now claiming the majority of new cellphone activations.
Nonetheless, a lot of the points I made in my writeup on
the G1 remain valid.
Android is the operating system
running on the Droid 3.
Android is a variant of Linux.
One forum poster asked,
Why are you guys obsessing over this Linux business?
It's just a phone! The reason is that we guys (girls also welcome) can
make the device do a whole lot more than just cellphone calls, and we don't
need the cooperation of a bunch of marketing droids with the operator and the
handset manufacturer, who will not consider our needs to be important enough to
implement across the whole product deployment.
So what are these special things I'm using the Droid 3 for?
Read e-books, downloaded journal (magazine) issues, etc. Other users say the major use of their handheld device is to view field maintenance manuals or product catalogs at the customer's site independent of whether an internet connection is available.
Keep personal records. I have hypertension and I need to monitor my blood pressure, and I found it very useful on trips abroad to record dutiable and taxable items as purchases were made. I didn't purchase or create a dedicated application for this: I used generic Linux tools, a spreadsheet program and a flat file editor.
Play games. Other smartphones also have games, and I'll leave it to the reader's judgment whether their possibilities or Android's are more numerous and more interesting.
See the prepurchase evaulation for a list of other activities (not all are exclusive to Android) including web browsing, email, instant messaging (both XMPP and SMS), maps (with GPS), PIM/PDA functions, and connecting securely to my shell account at work or at home from anywhere in the world.
Note on compass directions: the screen rotates to portrait or landscape
mode including upside down, so
left side are ambiguous.
Thus I've taken to using compass directions, like this:
Here I go over my goals, mobile operators' calling plans, and currently available phone models. The Motorola Droid 3 is clearly the right choice for me. I copy out its specifications, summarize reviews from several sources, and investigate procurement possibilities. The page ends with a plan of action, and a choice of accessories.
Using the stock Verizon operating system image I tested most of the hardware features successfully; and I re-checked them in CyanogenMod-7 and CyanogenMod-9.
Step 1: R00t your phone. Step 2: Upgrade to the Verizon image expected by Cyanogenmod. Step 3: Install Safestrap. Step 4: Install CyanogenMod.
This is mainly for my own use in restoring my configuration, but other
users can get some ideas how I like the pocket computer to be set up.
I'm alpha testing Hashcode's port of CyanogenMod-9, based on Android-4.0.3
Ice Cream Sandwich, to Droid 3, and so I need to wipe and reinstall
the operating system frequently, typically weekly.
I had plans to run this pocket computer on the cheap, not paying for
services I won't use. However, the best-laid plans oft gang agley, and
I ended up as a
loyal Verizon customer.
This page has a brief description of each of the apps in the CyanogenMod image, the ones that I specifically installed, and the ones in the stock Verizon image.
(Need to collect all the bug reports here.)
Nothing is perfect, and here is my list of items that I wish would have been done differently. It is divided into hardware features, Verizon software, and CyanogenMod items.
Ice Cream Sandwichon Engadget